Sunday, November 6, 2011

Conversation Pieces

For years couches have grown bigger and bigger, lower and lower. So much that I asked myself at the last Milan Designweek; who on earth has a living room big enough to house one of these, secondly what exactly are people doing on these daybeds; staring lame at their big flatscreens? possibly. Cynicism aside;  the conversational piece is a new interesting development in couches. Sit-up couches, not so deep, and with stiff backs, sitting 2-3 or sometimes many persons, maybe even a crowd. They stimulate conversation, real, analogue, inter-personal talking and relationships. Which besides from being off-line also is something much more active than what the lay-back lounge couch stimulated.

For Shared spaces #3, Witte de With, Chris Kabel proposed an intervention of a  round circle bench for people to sit-on. Clearly stimulating conversation, bringing people together to chat like they would on a village square. One can seek intimacy by sitting on the inside of the circle, or separation by sitting on the outside of the circle.
photography Chris Kabel

This public space installation is the graduation project of Niek van der Heijden. It provokes thoughts about how we organize public space. Most public space sitting is created almost to avoid contact, and who easily starts a conversation with strangers these days? This piece is more like a meeting place it invites people to sit in a circle to have a conversation. There is a symbolic line of conversation that joins all the seats together
Niek van der Heijden, Living Forum, Graduation Galleries, Design Academy 2009

For the living-room there is also clear examples of the new active and conversational sitting;

This is the Ruche couch by Inga Sempe for Ligne Roset. Very straight sitting, the padded cover adds a sense of soft cocooning.
Ruche by Inga Sempe for Ligne Roset

This couch by GamFratesi is not sitting more than 2 people, perfect for an intimate conversation. It has round and soft qualities too, that again emphasize the cocoon, or creates a soft, protecte space for the conversation.
Haiku by GamFratesi

Favn litterally means embrace in Danish. How suiting! The outer works forms a hard shell almost as if to protect people from the harsh outside world. The inside is soft and warm, perfect host for an embrace or the perfect place for a deep, intimate conversation.

Shut-off from the outside world!
Favn by Jaime Hayon for Fritz Hansen

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